Posts Tagged ‘Radio’


Why HAM Radio is called Amateur Radio?
Basically, HAM Radio is a hobby, for which a person needs to be self-motivated. He has to learn the techniques on his own or go to a person who knows HAM well. It is not a very handy hobby. Amateur may be called the opposite of mature, it is a self-developed skill. Just like there are amateur photographers who practice photography but may not have a degree in the same field. Similarly this wireless technology of HAM has the technical name of Amateur Radio. And the person operating the HAM Radio is called a HAM.

Is there any full-form for HAM? How did the term come into existence?
No, HAM is not an acronym unlike B.Sc or B.Com. If you can recollect, the unit of temperature was Centigrade, later changed to Celsius. This was because Celsius was the inventor of the temperature meter. His name deserved to be remembered and linked with this invention. Similarly, there were three pioneer scientists in the invention of the wireless technology. Their names being Hertz, Angstrom and Marconi, Hertz invented the frequency; Angstrom was the founder of circuits while Marconi designed the first radio receiver circuit. Marconi is also the name of a famous radio brand. So came the term HAM by adopting the first letters of their names. Also, due to its high value during disasters, the full-form of HAM is formed as Help All Mankind.

What is the difference between a common radio set and a HAM radio?
HAM Radio is a one-to-one communication device. While radio has a mast radio reception that broadcasts and we as listeners can simply hear the songs or interviews. HAM Radio is a medium of two-way conversations. Also, commercial radio is allotted a particular spot frequency while HAM Radio gets the privilege of bands of frequencies. Unlike huge amounts of royalties paid by other radios, HAM Radio demands just a few rupees per year. HAM is installed, operated and maintained by the owner himself while in other communication mediums, different people play different roles.

How does the HAM Radio actually work?
HAM Radio works on the principle of wireless technology. There is no need of a third party or a service provider. It works on the Ionosphere and the radio waves. This means that the waves released from the transmitter travel through the ionosphere and reach the desired destination. So it is everlasting as the entire human kind survives because of this sphere on which the technology, too, is dependent.

How is the bandwidth decided? Is it possible that two allotted bandwidths might coincide? 
Every wireless device is recognized by its operating frequency. This frequency allocation is made by a Government body named WPC (Wireless Planning & Coordination). Police, Army, Navy, Fire Brigade, Civil & Aviation, Forest department etc all use the wireless technology. These all are allotted bandwidths in which they can communicate. Since the allocation is overviewed, there are no chances that the bandwidths might coincide.

How did the HAM Radio help during the 2001 Gujarat Earthquake?
This disaster was on a massive scale and it had affected Gujarat very badly. In the aftermath of the earthquake all the communication mediums had failed. The quake had struck at around 8.21 am but we got to know that Kutch was badly affected only by the afternoon, due to weak communication facilities. This happens due to two reasons: manmade and technical. Everyone tries to contact one another and the systems get jammed. Technically, the satellite alignment or the fiber optics in the ground gets disrupted during any such calamity. This is the time when HAM was working, because it is basically a wireless system. So we had reached Kutch and resumed the communication.

Generally, how does HAM help in any type of manmade or natural calamity?
We need a source of information in order to handle and overcome any kind of calamity. If there are helping agencies but they don’t have the required data like what are the requirements of the affected areas and the priorities, they cannot take a further step. So HAM Radio plays a major role as the information provider when there is a total communication blackout.

What is the technology behind HAM Radio?
This is called a type of wireless technology. There are two types of communication equipments: HF (High Frequency) which is used for global communication and VHF (Very High Frequency) which is used for local communication that covers a range of 25-40 kms.

Can anyone become a HAM? What is the procedure for the same?
The Government has kept the barrier of an examination in order to acquire a license to operate the HAM Radio. Once this exam is cleared, there is character verification (similar to one during issue of a passport) and thereafter the license is issued. There is no qualification barrier, but the person has to be an Indian National Citizen above the age of 14. The license is an authority to keep a wireless device, and so even HAM Radio needs a license for operation.

Are there any groups or clubs that work for HAM Radio?
In Gujarat, Gujarat Institute of Amateur Radio functions, this is the outcome of the 2001 Earthquake. This club has branches all over Gujarat. It conducts trainings, seminars and demonstrations at all major Government functions and at schools/colleges. Anyone, whether a HAM or not, can become a member of this club.

Can you share an experience when you have witnessed HAM Radio as a life saver?
I got the license to be a HAM in 1982. Since then, I have witnessed the role of HAM in more than 10 major disasters where we provided emergency communication. But the most memorable experience was during the Tsunami. We had rushed to Andaman and Nicobar Islands in December 2005 and our location was Campbell Bay, which is the southernmost island. Then, there was a total blackout of communication and we were supposed to rescue the people who were caught mid-sea. This was a worthy task undertaken in the worst conditions by the HAM Radio. Around 60 missing people were traced due to this technology.

What according to you is the future of HAM Radio?
Since we live in an era of communication, the technology changes day to day. So I can say that HAM Radio is not on the forefront. But whenever there is a disaster, all these latest, well-settled communication technologies fail. This is the time when HAM Radio is the only savior. Secondly, the youth can be well trained and the scientific skills can be developed. An interest needs to be generated among the youth to adopt this technology.

(Mr. Praveen Valera, Joint Secretary, Gujarat Institute of Amateur Radio)

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Radio: Today and Tomorrow.

If I talk about today’s radio, it has a lot of possibilities. Radio is a modern tool for communication and at the same time it is extremely popular with the young generation. Youth has got busier these days and they have no time for the visual medium. They tune into the audio medium for faster information. Gujarat is an advanced state in terms of industries. Also there are a lot of people coming here for work; there are a lot of avenues too. And radio is a tool for the betterment of the people. So radio definitely has a brighter and wider scope, especially with reference to Gujarat.

How has Radio as a medium grown over the years?

Since last 75 years, we have conceived All India Radio. In the ancient times, i.e. in 1936, Radio had a different concept. The Maharajas of Mysore, Hyderabad, Vadodara and other places had their own Radio Transmitters. But now radio is a medium that is in the hands of the Common Man, it is a relation of give and take and a participatory medium. The listener has the option to interact and listen through even his/her mobile phones.

Journalism is rapidly being replaced by the online media. Do you think that anytime in recent future, online radio will gain more popularity?

Listeners already have the options of listening to the Radio through their mobile phones and the internet. They can listen as well as download the news through just a click. The programs too can be listened through Airnet. Also, when it comes to participation, you need to be one on one with the listeners, you need to build interaction and through this online medium, your listeners are not away, they can be with you.

Do you think Journalism and Radio are interlinked?

Infact radio is a part of journalism; we can say its audio journalism. Basically, journalism is divided into print, audio and video formats. So we can always say that radio is all about audio journalism. It covers everything that any other medium does.

What is your take on Commercialization of Radio for Entertainment?

Commercialization to some extent is good. Sometimes it becomes necessary for survival. But it should not be undertaken in a way that the basic motive of radio is marred. Also, commercialization has got certain specific norms all over the world. If one crosses those norms and is overdosing, then the very content of the program or entertainment is being murdered. So if these limits are followed then commercials are good for the awareness of the common man.

Do you think Privatization of Radio has adversely affected the popularity of A.I.R.?

In the beginning, privatization was taken as a challenge. Gradually we learnt to survive this competition in the audio world. However, A.I.R. has some positive points due to which it is much above the other private channels.

  • It is a Public Broadcaster. So it is MASS oriented and not CLASS oriented
  • It covers 99% of the population of India and 98% of the area, which is the widest reach in the entire world
  • A.I.R. broadcasts in 29 languages, 46 dialects and 12-16 foreign languages

Thus we have an edge over the others due to all these strengths.

How is A.I.R. playing its role in the development of the State?

It definitely won’t be any exaggeration to say that whatever has happened in the country by means of awareness, education has been through A.I.R. Be it agriculture, green revolution, science or any other field – A.I.R. has been the first promoter. It has helped people to know various things and this way it has moved on. Any undertaking is not possible without people’s support and any one person cannot do anything.

How has A.I.R. met people’s expectations? 

This question reminds of a meeting soon after the 2001 Gujarat earthquake. All the officers present at the meeting decided that small TV sets should be provided to the rural areas as a part of disaster management. It was then that I put forward a request that instead of TV sets, transistors should prove a better option. TV sets require electricity which is often cut off in the aftermath of any disaster. Whereas radio is cheap, is easily accessible and does not require literacy unlike newspapers. So the point is even during any disasters, A.I.R. has stood the test of time and been the only source of communication for the people. Government messages, warnings and suggestions are broadcasted through this medium in times of emergencies.

Message from your desk for ‘The Namoleague Times’.

I wish that this e-paper becomes the most powerful and truthful voice for the common man. Truth includes journalism as well. It is above everything; it will surpass all and ultimately lead to victory of the common man. I wish Namoleague Times all the very best.
(From the interview with Smt. Sadhna Bhatt, Dy. Director, Regional Training Institute, A.I.R. Ahmedabad)

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